No 2 Outpost
You are standing at No 2 Outpost. From here, you can see how far inland the Anzac troops got during the Gallipoli campaign. If you look towards the ocean, you can see the beach running back to the headland, which is Ari Burnu – the northern headland of Anzac Cove. You can see that landscape climbing up to the first major ridge with the clay face on the left, which is Plugge’s Plateau. Then it drops down to a long, straight piece, which is the Razor Edge, then you’ve got the next promontory, which is the Sphinx. If you look along the ridge from which this promontory runs, you can see a clump of pine trees. That’s the Anzac frontline. If you look in the centre of the group of pine trees, you can see the glimmer of a stone memorial. That is the area of the Nek and that is where Russell’s Top links up with this next slight ridge, which is Baby 700.
Further down, that cluster of buildings on your right, and to the left of the road, are the headquarters and workshop of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. They do all the repairs on the cemeteries and memorials here.
No 2 Outpost was one of three outposts established to protect against Ottoman attacks along the beach. If you look to the left of the War Graves Commission building, you can see a small, isolated, bush-covered hill. That is No 1 Outpost. The part below it, where the Native Contingent camped after they landed on the 3rd of July 1915, became known as ‘Maori Pah’.
The next outpost is No 2 Outpost, where you stand now, and the far north end of this ridge becomes No 3 Outpost. Directly in front of you is Fisherman’s Hut, which was held by the Ottomans on the 25th of April 1915.
If you look inland, you will see the flat feature that runs off immediately in front of you. In May 1915, Anzac soldiers attempted to expand their hold out here, between this outpost and the high ground. The New Zealanders fought for it and the Turks kicked them off because they were worried that the Anzacs were encroaching into their area in the foothills. That flat feature became known as Old No 3 Outpost. And the Turks strongly fortified that position.
The Outposts became the base for preparing for the August offensive. The objectives included capturing the high ground of the Sari Bair Range: Hill 971, Hill Q and Chunuk Bair. The New Zealand Infantry Brigade were to take Chunuk Bair. Look up to your left to the high ground and look for the flag, and you can see the summit of Chunuk Bair.
Brigadier-General Andrew Russell, who commanded the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, took these foothills in front of us. All four Mounted Rifle regiments were involved: Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago, the two South island regiments were reinforced by the Native Contingent.
The Mounted Rifles were going to ‘open the door’ by securing the foothills that dominated the valley, allowing the infantry to advance, and push on towards the summit of Chunuk Bair.
So, if you can imagine, here on the night of the 6th of August, the men of the Auckland Mounted Rifles already held this position. They waited for the searchlight of HMS Colne to illuminate the ground in front of you. That was followed by artillery fire, and when that stopped, they attacked. It was a silent attack with rifle and bayonet. There was fierce hand-to-hand fighting, in pitch dark with bayonets only.
By early morning, the Mounted Rifles had cleared these foothills. The door to the high ground was now open, and the next stage was for the Wellington Mounted Rifles to pass through and take the next piece of high ground, called Table Top. If they took this, then the Infantry could come forward and push on up to the ultimate goal - the summit of Chunuk Bair.